Toby Price had been nursing his recently pinned broken wrist throughout Dakar 2019, but the 31-year-old had saved his best for last in order to decimate the competition on the final run home to the chequered flag in the Peruvian capital of Lima overnight to claim his second Dakar crown.
“It feels amazing to stand here knowing I have won the Dakar, I don’t think it has really sunk in yet. I thought at the beginning of the event I would be lucky to even make the rest day. Pretty much all I can say that it feels like there are about five people driving a knife in my wrist now. It’s not very comfortable, it’s not very enjoyable, but at the end of the day the victory has been paid off. I’ll forget about the pain now, that’s for sure. The win takes away all the pain. For sure, if it was not for this, it would not have been as sweet, but at the end of the day I was just happy to make the finishing line.
“My Red Bull KTM bike has been amazing, I want to say a big thank you to my mechanic for that. The whole crew here do an amazing job – without them I would be no one.
“The team put in so much work on the lead up to the event and when we get here it’s down to me out there on the track so it feels amazing to be able to reward them all with this result and keep KTM’s winning streak going.
“It was so tight going into the stage this morning, both Pablo and I knew we would have to push right from the start. Unfortunately for him, he went too hard off a dune but he really deserves a win too – everyone that starts this race deserves a win.
“There are so many guys that can win this race and we had strong competitors like Pablo and RickyBrabec , Sam Sunderland, Matthias Walkner … everyone is strong. You can never count anybody out. Kevin Benavides did a great job and at the end of the day we all fight to finish the line and it’s been a hard rally. I just do not like giving up, I do not like quitting, that’s for sure. That’s about it. I love being on my bike and I love riding and to be here with all the Dakar family and the KTM team it’s amazing. So, yeah, we’re pumped .
The plan now is to go home and relax for a little while, I know I need to have my wrist seen to, so I’ll get that sorted and then it won’t be long before we start it all over again.”
Who is Toby Price
To win one Dakar is a life changing experience, winning two confirms legend status.
The injuries Toby has battled back from over the years have been themselves almost life altering. His fairly quietly spoken while carrying a big stick demeanour, which is almost borderline self-deprecating at times, has served him well as he has overcome some very large obstacles put in his way.
Right back from his junior motocross days he displayed the tenacity that has helped him to get where he is today.The first time I interviewed a then 14-year-old Toby Price it was 2002. Back then he told me his dislikes were ‘flat tyres and dirty bikes’, and his ambition was ‘To be world number one’.
2002 wasn’t his crowning year in Junior Motocross but 2003 would be. Like 2019, he was also coming back from injury, which in that case was two broken wrists. Nonetheless he went on to win both major categories at the 2003 Australian Junior Motocross Championships, the 15 years 125cc category, and the 13-16 years 250cc four-stroke class.
More injuries plaged his successive years and perhaps it was that which first put him on the path of competing in the bush rather than on the motocross track. At 22 he went on to win the AORC in 2009 ahead of Stefan Merriam, and also starred at the ISDE in Portugal that year.
The next year he won the AORC once again while also winning both the Finke and Hattah Desert Races at his first attempt.
More AORC, Finke and Hattah success came in the years that followed, along with more than a few injuries. The big one was when he broke his neck which required extensive surgery to repair and kept him off the bike for the most of 2013.
The next year he would test his mettle on the International Rally circuit, racing to an eighth place in Morocco. That year he also won the E3 category at the ISDE and the Red Bull Day In The Dirt.
2015 was Toby’s first crack at the Dakar. A stage win on the way to a podium on his first attempt set the scene for what was to come.
KTM signed Toby to replace the retiring Dakar legend Marc Coma for 2016, and was on the way to building his own legend.
The following year, 2016, as a fully fledged member of the KTM Factory Rally squad, Price dominated Dakar.
2017 involved more pain, a broken femur put him out of the Dakar while he was leading. Complications and setbacks delayed his return to motorcycle competition and he was not racing on two wheels again until Dakar 2018. A few navigation errors were very costly to Price’s 2018 Dakar campaign but once again he was on the podium.
In the lead up to Dakar 2019 everything was going to plan. Toby had won the 2018 Cross Country Rally World Championship, was fighting fit and ready to rock Dakar. But then, only a few weeks before Dakar was about to start he broke his scaphoid in a training accident.
Nonetheless Toby rode a smooth and steady Dakar and saved his best for last, his only stage win of Dakar 2019 coming in the tenth and final stage of the Rally.
KTM proves unstoppable
Despite more and more determined challenges from both Yamaha and Honda in recent years, Price has continued the theme of KTM domination of Dakar. Since the orange machines from Austria captured their first victory in 2001, courtesy of Fabrizio Meoni on a KTM 600, they have remained unbeaten.
Cyril Despres and Marco Coma won ten of those Dakars between them, five apiece between the years 2005 and 2015.
Over the past four years, it is the current main KTM strike force trio that have brought home the silverware for the Mattighofen manufacturer. Price in 2016, Sam Sunderland in 2017, Matthias Walkner in 2018, and now Price again in 2019. That current KTM trio also finished Dakar 2019 in a 1-2-3 podium for KTM.
2019 Dakar Rally Results
Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 33:57:16
Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 34:06:29 +9:13
Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 34:10:50 +13:34
Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 34:18:02 +20:46
Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 34:41:26 +44:10
The unsung Aussie heros
While Toby Price is the indisputed hero of Dakar 2019, there were also a couple of Aussies competing in the shadow of the KTM Factory Rally star. 47-year-old Ben Young completed the Dakar in 55th position. While Young had some assistance with the back-up from the Polish Duust Rally Team, the Newcastle based rider was going it alone and still managed to complete the Dakar in 67th position.
One more day to go…. That is what is on the minds of Dakar Rally riders as they overnight in Pisco after completing the penultimate stage of Dakar 2019. Thursday will see competitors negotiate the final 359 kilometre Stage Ten to the finish line at the Peruvian capital of Lima. The final stage will include a timed special stage of 112 kilometres. Riders will then have to complete a liaison section that will bring them to the finish line on Magdalena Beach.
For some though Stage Nine brought the ultimate heartbreak. After putting in a consistently fast performance throughout Dakar 2019 Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren went out of the rally with a technical failure on the WR450F. With Honda’s Ricky Brabec suffering a similar fate on the previous stage, albeit while leading the Rally outright, this puts the Austrian made KTM and Husqvarna brands into a 1-2-3-4 at the top of the outright leaderboard. Van Beveren spent four hours struggling with the issue but eventually had to admit defeat, his Rally has been run.
2019 Dakar Stage Nine Video
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team Director
“It is always disappointing to lose a good chance to battle for the victory, but the Dakar has left us with mixed emotions today. On one hand, we were glad to see Xavier move up in the overall standings. Xavier has worked really hard these last few months and he really deserves to be up there. As for Adrien, he was having an amazing race so far. He was one of the most consistent racers and never finished outside the top seven in any of the stages contested. Also, Adrien was opening the tracks for most stages showing his good navigation skills. This DNF might be a harsh blow for all, but Adrien proved again this year he’s one of the most complete rally racers in the world. Despite his young age he’s really mature as a racer and I personally believe there’s still more to come from him in the future.”
The stage saw another motocross style mass-start with riders setting off in waves of 10, determined by their finishing positions from the previous day’s stage. Heading into the dunes for the 313-kilometre timed special, the first group of riders stuck together for the majority of the stage.
It was somewhat of a cat and mouse game unfold among the top trio of Price, Quintanilla and Walkner with only a single second covering that trio at the end of the penultimate stage of Dakar 2019.
Toby Price has maintained his one-minute lead over Quintanilla heading into the final day. The wrist that the 31-year-old broke and had pinned in the lead up to Dakar 2019 is giving him major grief, but he is determined to hold on for the run to the finish line.
Toby Price – Stage P5 – Overall P1
“I got through stage nine today where we had the mass-start. There was no chance to make up any time or lose time really, I just had to stick with the group. Tomorrow is only a 100-kilometre stage, but I think it’s going to feel more like 300. The boys are really going to up their pace and all I can do is try my best once more and try to stay with them. If I can get through tomorrow and finish on the podium, I’ll be more than happy.”
Pablo Quintanilla is currently placed second overall, one-minute and two-seconds behind Price, and is set to make history by securing Husqvarna’s best result at the prestigious annual rally.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P3 – Overall P2
“I’m in a great spot right now to battle for the win and I’m really happy about that. Securing a podium result would be great for me and the team, but honestly my eyes are set on getting the win here in Peru. Today’s stage worked quite well for me. The mass start made it all more interesting. There were some tricky waypoints to make, but overall I felt good and managed to get a good time. Tomorrow I’m determined to give it all for the win. There’s just one minute separating me and Toby [Price] and the day will be long. No matter what happens tomorrow I am very satisfied with my performance at this Dakar. I gave 100% on each day and that’s what matters the most for me.”
Placing fourth on Stage Nine, Matthias Walkner lies third overall in the general standings, six minutes and 35 seconds behind Price. Despite the deficit, Walkner’s advantage over the fourth-placed rider is considerable, and the defending Dakar champion has no choice but to push on tomorrow’s stage to make up as much time as possible.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P4 – Overall P3
“The stage felt really long today, partly because the pace was up and down all of the time. Riding in a group sometimes someone will push and everyone gets faster and then things will slow down again. Riding in the dust was tough and it made navigation tricky – we got lost a few times trying to find waypoints. I didn’t lose any time to the others though and I have a good gap to the next rider in the standings. Tomorrow there is no time for strategy, so I will give it my best and see where I finish.”
Remaining calm and focused, Andrew Short has climbed up to an impressive fourth place in the Dakar’s provisional overall standings after Stage Nine. Claiming a seventh place result for the day, the American racer is looking forward to tomorrow’s final stage.
Andrew Short – Stage P7 – Overall P4
“There’s been a lot of chaos over the last few days. My plan from the beginning of this race was to just focus on my performance and try to be as smooth and consistent as possible. I’m happy to see my strategy is paying off. This fourth place in the overall is simply amazing. The moto start today was great fun for me. After the start, the terrain became a bit tricky and dangerous at some parts. There was a lot of dust and you really had to pay attention on the road book. That was stressful and there was this one waypoint at the end that was super tricky. The fatigue is setting in right now, but nevertheless I am really looking forward to reaching the finish line in Lima tomorrow.”
The first Yamaha on the overall leaderboard is now Frenchman Xavier De Soultrait, one position ahead of leading Honda ridden by young Chilean José Ignacio Cornejo, better known as Nacho.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P10 – Overall P5
“I felt good in the stage today and managed to control my rhythm from start to finish. That was possibly the first stage in this second week of the Dakar where I felt so confident with my navigation. It was a tough stage, but not that hard to create any problems for me. I really enjoyed racing in the dunes today and for a big part of the stage we were riding in groups with other competitors. My bike is running great and I feel it gives me the confidence to push in these tricky conditions. Tomorrow we will race a smaller special of just over 100km. This Dakar has been a tough one and this fifth place in the overall gives me the motivation to keep working hard for the future.”
Nacho debuted last year as a last minute fill-in for the injured Paulo Goncalves and went on to finish in the top ten, and thus earned his position as an official HRC rider for 2019.
José Ignacio Cornejo – Stage P6 – Overall P6
“In this penultimate stage there was a mass start, so we were all pretty close together all day. As a consequence there was a lot of dust and we had to keep a distance so that it wasn’t so dangerous. In the dunes we all got together again and lost a few minutes looking for several complicated waypoints, but I was happy to see how quickly we solved the navigation problems. I’ve continued climbing positions in the general standings, and now I’m sixth which I’m happy about. Tomorrow is the last day and I will try to set the same pace as I have over recent day.”
Setting off in the first wave of 10 riders this morning, Luciano Benavides had his first taste of mixing it with the rally leaders on a mass-start stage. Despite losing time to the group when fog once again affected visibility on the route, Benavides was able to push on and navigate himself back to the other riders. Currently lying seventh overall, the Argentinian will be aiming for another strong ride on tomorrow’s final stage to secure his place inside the top-10.
Luciano Benavides – Stage P9 – Overall P7
“Today was good fun but really chaotic. We all started together and it was my first time in the lead group. I did manage to get lost at one point when I followed some old tracks but I was able to find my way again and catch back up to the pack ahead. At the finish I don’t think I lost too much time. My goal coming into the race was to get a top-10 result and hopefully if everything goes well tomorrow, I should be able to better that so I’m really happy.”
Kevin Benavides had come out guns blazing and opened the track for much of the special. A hard-to-locate waypoint caused the first wave of riders to reach the leading group and narrow the times down even further. Benavides eventually posted the eighth fastest stage time but had been sanctioned with a three-minute penalty from Stage Eight after race authorities deemed that the rider had violated one of the new rules established for the race. The team is currently gathering all the necessary information to present an official claim against the sanction.
Kevin Benavides – Stage P8 – Overall P12
“The truth is that today was difficult to start, as I was affected by the sanction given to me yesterday. I tried to get it out of my head and start from scratch. I opened the track most of the day and several of the riders grouped together. In the end there were some complicated waypoints and the riders of the second group starting catching us up. It was a good stage to finish on a high note. Honda has done things well, so let’s finish the race and see what happens.”
Another rider penalised, but much more severely, was KTM’s Sam Sunderland. Officials deemed that the Briton had deliberately caused the reported fault in his navigation system at the start of Stage Eight. A stage that he was supposed to open the road on as the first rider away, but due to the delay with his machine he was able to start behind other riders. Sunderland finished Stage Nine in 12th place, just ahead of Laia Sanz. Sunderland, the 2017 Dakar winner, had still been in contention for an outright podium position but that one-hour time penalty pushes him back to eighth overall, one-hour and ten-minutes behind Rally leader Toby Price. There was no mention of the penalty in KTM’s official releases or in Sunderland’s quotes… Or whether they would appeal the penalty….
Sam Sunderland – Stage P12 – Overall P8
“Today’s stage went ok, I found it a little tricky to focus and couldn’t quite get into my rhythm. I lost a little time on the group but all-in-all had a good day. There’s one last stage to race and of course I plan to give it my best.”
Laia Sanz enjoyed another consistent ride on today’s stage. Setting off in the second wave, Laia successfully stayed with the group until a small issue caused her to lose touch. Quickly rectifying the problem, the Spaniard set off again to ultimately complete the stage in 13th place. She now sits 11th in the provisional overall standings.
Laia Sanz – Stage P13 – Overall P11
“I am really surprised with my result so far, I haven’t been pushing too hard on any of the stages, just keeping to a good rhythm. I had a small issue today that cost me about five minutes, which was a shame because I lost touch with the group I had been riding with. Physically I felt better today too, so I am pleased about that. We only have one more day to go and I know it will feel very, very long. You start to listen to every noise on the bike and hope that nothing goes wrong. The plan is to make it to the finish and I will be really happy.”
2019 Dakar Rally Provisional Results Stage Nine
METGE Michael FRA Sherco 03:46’38
NOSIGLIA Daniel BOL Honda +02’00
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna +03’28
WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM +03’29
PRICE Toby AUS KTM +03’29
CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Honda +03’30
SHORT Andrew USA Husqvarna +04’03
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Honda +03’03
BENAVIDES Luciano ARG KTM +04’55
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha +04’56
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Nine
PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory 32:42’15
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Husqvarna Factory +01’02
WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +06’35
SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Husqvarna Factory +40’01
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha Official Rally Team +47’44
CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda +01:05’45
BENAVIDES Luciano ARG Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +01:05’50
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +01:10’15
MENA Oriol SPA Hero Motorsports Team +01:52’20
NOSIGLIA Daniel BOL Honda Argentina +02:21’51 12 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda +03:22’15
Dakar Rally leader Ricky Brabec set off from San Juan de Marcona pushing to become the first American to win the race. However, the Honda rider suffered heartbreak after only 56km as his engine gave way, bringing an end to his hopes.
Dubbed the ‘Super Ica’, stage eight pitted the fastest 10 bikes, 10 cars and the top five trucks from the previous day together, setting off at three-minute intervals according to their stage seven results. At 360 kilometres, the timed special was the longest of the event and took competitors over fast, open pistes for the first half, before once again challenging them with the mountainous sand dunes of the Ica desert.
Toby Price put in another stunning performance on stage eight, leading on time right up until the final two checkpoints. Crossing the line in an eventual third position has elevated Price to overall leader in the provisional standings. But with just one minute separating the top two riders after close to 30 hours of racing, the Australian rider knows he still has to keep fighting right to the finish as he bids to reclaim the title he first won in 2016. The wrist he broke in the lead up to Dakar 2019 is giving him plenty of curry now, but the 31-year-old is determined to push through.
Dakar 2019 – Stage Eight Video
Toby Price – Stage P3 – Overall P1
“I knew today had to count so I gave it everything – the wrist is really starting to sting now! It was a long special at 360 kilometres but I got through it and I’m pleased with how the whole stage went. Just two days left so I’ll get some rest tonight and attack again tomorrow. When the helmet goes on, you know I’m just going to do the best I can.”
Pablo Quintanilla posted the second best time for the day. Gaining an impressive three positions in the overall, Pablo is now second and less than two-minutes behind new Dakar provisional outright leader Toby Price.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P2- Overall P2
“Everything went according to plan for me today. After the mass start in the morning I found myself racing alone for some time, before starting to catch up with the riders from the first wave. Today’s stage was not easy. It was physically and mentally tough but I did my best pushing all the way to the finish. We’re nine days into this race and we’re all starting to feel the effects of these tough stages on our bodies. I’m really happy with where I’m at in the overall. The gap with Toby is small and we still have two more days of racing. I will try to stick to my plan and continue giving 100% until the end of the race.”
Following his top-10 result from stage seven, Matthias Walkner set off with not only nine bikes ahead of him, but also two cars driven by Dakar legends Stephane Peterhansel and Nani Roma. Navigating well through the dust kicked up by the vehicles in front, as well as the fog that had descended on the stage, the reigning Dakar Champion steadily upped his pace as the day went on to ultimately post the fastest time, just pipping team-mate Price and Husqvarn’a Pablo Quintanilla for the stage win. With positions closing up at the top of the overall standings, Walkner now lies third, six minutes and 30 seconds behind teammate Price.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P1 – Overall P3
“Good day for me today, I really tried to push all day long. Starting with the cars was not so bad this morning, a couple caught me on the fast pistes, but I passed them back again when we hit the dunes. I got to the refuelling and saw that Toby had made some time so I knew I had to really go for it in the sand. I had a couple of small crashes in the fesh-fesh, it was really foggy and a lot of the time you couldn’t really see too well ahead of you. I was happy with my riding today and everything is going well so we’ll see what the next two days bring.”
Set to open the special today due to his win on the previous day’s stage seven, Sam Sunderland was forced to delay his start when his on-bike tracker failed. Slotting in further down the order meant the British rider also had vehicles in front of him to deal with as he progressed through the stage. Nevertheless, pushing hard Sunderland posted the fourth fastest time and now sits fourth overall in the provisional rally standings.
Sam Sunderland – Stage P4 – Overall P4
“I’m happy with my riding today but it’s been a tough one and I’m not sure if an issue at the start will cost me some time. My Iritrack wasn’t working and I had to get that fixed before I set off. It meant I was behind a car at the beginning of the stage and the dust from that combined with the fog made things very tricky. After that I just pushed on as best I could to the end. Day eight is ticked off now, but I’m sure there’s plenty more excitement to come.”
Starting Tuesday’s special stage among the first wave of competitors, Adrien Van Beveren launched an attack with the goal of moving even higher in the provisional overall rankings. Pushing hard from start to finish, he struggled with the stage’s demanding navigation and ended up losing some time to his main rivals.
Posting the sixth best time for the day, Van Beveren is currently placed fifth in the event’s provisional overall standings. Determined to keep the battle going, Adrien is now less than 10-minutes behind the provisional overall leader with two stages still to be contested.
Adrien Van Beveren – Stage P6 – Overall P5
“Today I decided to attack more than any of the previous stages and it didn’t work to my advantage. The race is very intense and I knew that if I didn’t attack my chances for the win would be possibly less. Navigation was tricky and I lost time trying to find some waypoints. At the end of the day, I lost a little bit more than 10 minutes to the leaders. It’s not exactly the result I was looking for, but we’re not done yet. My day might not have been so good, but we still have two stages to go. I will continue giving my best until we cross the finish line in Lima.”
Kevin Benavides is now Honda’s final real hope for Dakar victory after rally leader Ricky Brabec was left to rue what could have been when his engine let go early in stage eight. Other top Honda hopes Joan Barreda went out on stage three after a crash left him unable to continue, while Paulo Goncalves crashed heavily on stage five to go out of the Rally. Benavides is currently sixth outright.
Kevin Benavides- Stage P9 – Overall P6
“Today the stage was complicated because I wasn’t able to validate a waypoint. It was a point which wasn’t visible but should have been very easy to find as it was just down a mountain as you entered the beach. I was at the right point and but the waypoint wouldn’t open. I went through there a thousand times and nothing showed up. I stopped Joaquim Rodrigues, he had it validated and I was at the same point and it wouldn’t go on to the next waypoint. Several other riders passed and after I stopped Michael Metge before the point and told him if I could follow him to see if it registered. Finally it did but I had already passed through many times. The organization has seen that I went through there many times. Now we have to wait and see what they will tell us about it. It’s a pity about Ricky, he was having a great race and we could have both battled until the end. I send him all my best.”
Raul Castells – Monster Energy Honda Team Manager
“Unfortunately, days like today, we have experienced before. These are things that can happen in motor sports and that, far from bringing us down will serve to strengthen us as a team because we will continue to fight for our goals, even if they are distant. Ricky was having an incredible race and I’m sure he will come back, even stronger if it is possible, to continue fighting for the number one spot. Likewise, I’d like to point out the great stage that Nacho Cornejo rode today having opened the track all day, but also that of Kevin, who had some problems with the navigation tools that we hope can be solved. We will keep fighting until the end.”
Ricky Brabec – DNF
“It was a really hard day. There was nothing really positive about my day, especially for the race. The coolest part was getting a helicopter ride along the beach and back. It’s heart-wrenching. Not easy. We have to go home, take a break and come back. I’m at a loss for words. It was amazing to be on the top for the previous days. It’s really nice to have the team support me and the whole team. It felt like the vibes and the confidence in me were good. That helped me to achieve so many great days.”
Going from strength-to-strength in this year’s Dakar, Andrew Short put in another strong performance on Tuesday to secure a solid fifth place result in stage eight. The second Husqvarna mounted rider inside the top 10, Andrew is currently seventh in the event’s provisional overall standings.
Andrew Short – Stage P5 – Overall P7
“It was interesting to start the stage alongside the cars. A few kilometres into the stage I got passed by Nani Roma’s car and he was going really fast on the roads. But then once it got bumpy I was able to pass him and do my own race. After the fuel stop we entered the dunes and they were massive. I got to ride alongside a few other riders and our pace was good. Today there were lots of riders struggling with bike issues or making mistakes in navigation. For me personally I felt really good. I was going as hard as I could for most of the stage and for the last 30 kilometres I felt fatigued so decided to keep it steady. I’m trying to get better on every stage and every day and that’s what matters the most for me.”
Feeling strong in his Yamaha WR450F Rally machine since the start of the event, Xavier de Soultrait entered stage eight looking for another good result. Battling through the stage’s technical terrain and demanding navigation Xavier claimed a 10th place result for the day.
Moving up to eighth in the provisional overall standings, the Frenchman remains optimistic that he can climb even higher in the overall results to bring his gruelling adventure in Peru to a successful close.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P10 – Overall P8
“It was another long and difficult day in the fesh-fesh and the sand. My bike has been running great since the start of this rally and this gives me extra confidence to push. My results from these last couple of stages have made it harder for me to battle for the podium in Lima. Nevertheless, I will continue my battle until the end. We still have two long stages to race and my goal is to get as high as possible in the overall. I remain calm and I’m ready for the penultimate stage tomorrow. This Dakar has been a great experience for all and we will keep working hard until we reach Lima.”
Claiming seventh on Tuesday’s stage, Luciano Benavides had another great day. With his skill and confidence increasing with each day of racing, the popular Argentinian continues to move up the order in the provisional standings. Benavides now sits ninth overall with two days left to race.
Luciano Benavides – Stage P7 – Overall P9
“Today was tough again – another long 360 kilometres. Overall it was good for me, although I did lose a little time near the beginning of the stage in the fog. I had to remove my goggles to see properly and that slowed me up a little. Andrew (Short) caught me and we rode together for the next 200 kilometres. We had a good time in the dunes, with each one of us taking the lead from time to time. The stage seemed to flow really well and I had a lot of fun.”
Successfully completing another day inside the top 20, Laia Sanz was as impressive as ever on the long stage eight. Intelligently deciding to ease off her pace early on in the far from perfect conditions, Laia was then able to push harder onboard her KTM 450 Rally to ultimately post the 19th fastest time of the day. The Spaniard now sits an excellent 13th place overall in the provisional standings.
Laia Sanz – Stage P19 – Overall P13
“Today was a very long and tough day. For the first part of the stage I kept to a steadier rhythm. With the fesh-fesh and fog it made things very tricky and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. As we got to the dunes, I started to enjoy things a lot more and was able to push. The goal is as always, take things day by day and get safely to the finish.”
Wednesday’s stage nine of the 2019 Dakar marks the second of the two mass-starts at the rally. In another looped stage, riders will leave Pisco and cover a total of 409 kilometres, 313 kilometres of which is timed special, before returning to the coastal town.
2019 Dakar Rally Provisional Results Stage Eight
WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM 03:55’25
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna +00’45
PRICE Toby AUS KTM +01’13
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM +06’21
SHORT Andrew USA Husqvarna +09’51
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha +11’48
BENAVIDES Luciano ARG KTM +12’51
CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Honda +13’48
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Honda +15’07
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha +15’50
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Eight
PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory 28:53’08
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory +01’03
WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +06’35
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +06’38
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha Official Rally Team +09’54
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda +21’41
SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory +39’27
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha Official Rally Team +46’17
BENAVIDES Luciano ARG Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +01:04’24
CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda +01:05’44
San Juan de Marcona > San Juan de Marcona – Jan 14th
American Ricky Brabec battled back to overall leadership as the Dakar Rally arrived at its seventh stage, one day ahead of the Super-Ica which should prove to be the longest and most gruelling stage of the current edition.
Sam Sunderland though was the most impressive on Monday’s seventh stage of Dakar 2019 as the 29-year-old Briton dominated the day to catapult up the outright leaderboard from seventh all the way up to fourth.
Dakar 2019 Stage Seven Video
With a short liaison of only 64 kilometres, stage seven of the 2019 Dakar Rally was all about the 323-kilometre timed special. The day’s racing was delayed and also halted momentarily midway through, due to fog causing safety issues for the competitors. The first looped stage of the event, riders covered terrain already used in the rally close to the town of San Juan de Marcona. Traces from previous stages only made navigation tougher and with fatigue starting to play its part, it was an exhausting day for all.
Capitalising on his start position of 12th, Sam Sunderland immediately set about making time on the front runners. By waypoint three, Sunderland was ahead and despite a small error in the latter part of the stage, went on to win by close to two-minutes at the line over Honda’s José Cornejo.
Sam Sunderland – Stage P1 – Overall P4
“I’m pleased with today, it’s gone really well and it feels good to get some time back on the leaders. Obviously, yesterday I was really disappointed. I opened the stage well but lost time after damaging my rear brake. That upset my strategy a little but then today, I decided to use that frustration to my advantage and push as hard as I could right from the start. I did lose a little time right at the end when it took me a couple of minutes to find a WPC, but overall I’m happy with how I rode the stage. The guys made a few small changes to the suspension on my bike last night and I am really grateful for that. It seems to have helped because the bike felt great today. Tomorrow we start with the fastest cars and trucks, which will make things even more unpredictable again, so we’ll see how we go.”
The best rider of the Monster Energy Honda Team bunch turned out to be Nacho Cornejo, who came within a whisker of clinching his first Dakar stage win. The Chilean set a cracking pace in the first part and had no difficulty in finding one of the more critical waypoints in the special whilst others doubted and which eventual led to the day’s second quickest time. Nacho lies twelfth in the overall standings, just over an hour behind the leader.
José Ignacio Cornejo – Stage P2 – Overall P12
“Today was a good day, but the stage was tough. At first we passed over tracks made on previous days, so we had to be careful in some parts, but in general it was a very fast stage. In the second part, there was more sand and dunes and I knew that there I would be able to push harder because the first riders have lost time looking for a waypoint in the middle of the dunes. I minimized errors and I was able to maintain a good pace, so I am very happy with today’s stage. I almost got the victory, but I think it’s better not to have to open the track tomorrow.”
Third on Monday was Ricky Brabec, although the American was more than happy to retake the overall lead. Brabec was comfortable over the terrain that included dunes and was fast enough to mark the third best time of the day some 6’30” off the stage winner. Ricky now holds a 7’47” advantage over the nearest second place rival Frenchman Van Beveren.
Ricky Brabec – Stage P3 – Overall P1
“I feel good. I need the day to go well. I knew I had messed up a bit yesterday. Tomorrow is going to be hard to maintain the gap. The day was more my style like where I live. It was fun and comfortable. We were all riding together and enjoying it. Tomorrow I didn’t want to have to open. So it’s good that people finished in front of me. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.”
With Monday’s stage seven being one of the most demanding of this year’s Dakar, Adrien Van Beveren made full use of his acute navigational skills in the dunes of Peru. The first rider to find the right tracks in one of the most crucial sections of the special stage, Adrien gained time to his rivals. Earning a strong fourth place result for the day, he added yet another top five stage performance to his 2019 Dakar Rally campaign. Van Beveren also managed to move up three spots in the provisional overall standings. Currently holding the runner-up spot in the overall standings, the WR450F Rally mounted racer is less than eight minutes behind the provisional race leader with just three more stages to go.
Adrien Van Beveren – Stage P4 – Overall P2
“I’ve put it all on the line today for a good result and I’m happy I climbed a few places in the overall. I had a good day and really gave my best. I knew it would be a tricky stage in the dunes, so I decided from the start to be extra careful on my navigation. At one point I saw a big group of riders lost and searching for the waypoint. I remained calm and was the first one to find the waypoint. I thought I would be able to make up some good time there, but the other riders followed me in the right tracks. I am still in the game and the next few stages will be very important. I feel I’m on top of my game at the moment and I will continue giving it all here in Peru.”
Gaining confidence as the rally progresses, KTM’s team junior Luciano Benavides rode an excellent stage to place fifth. Having the opportunity to ride with stage-winner Sunderland helped to increase the Argentinian’s experience even further. Aiming for a top-10 result overall, Benavides is keen to maintain his impressive form to the finish.
Luciano Benavides – Stage P5 – Overall P11
“Today was good for me, I finished fifth, which is another best result for me. My rhythm right from the start was good but I didn’t take any risks because I wanted to stay safe and make it to the finish. Sam caught and passed me in the dunes so I was able to follow him for about 100 kilometres. That was really useful as I was able to watch how he rides and I believe I learned a lot from that. I start from the front row on tomorrows stage so hopefully I can stay with the others and get a good result.”
Continuing to demonstrate improved speed and consistency, Andrew Short rode most of the special stage alone. Posting the sixth fastest time for the day, the American racer is now ninth in the provisional overall standings and less than three minutes behind the rider in eighth place.
Andrew Short – Stage P6 – Overall P9
“My pace was good today. It seems that in this area of Peru the weather is a little extreme. There’s always something crazy over here and today we had some fog, a lot of wind and some parts with fesh-fesh. I rode most of the stage by myself and then towards the end I got caught by a couple of other riders. Racing alongside others, it’s much easier to know and control my pace. Overall, it was a decent day and the guys in front of me in the overall are now within seconds or minutes. It’s realistic for me to battle with the rider in front of me in the overall. I’ve made some big improvements this year with my navigation and my speed and I’m happy with that.”
Catching up with the leading group inside the special stage, Xavier de Soultrait earned a seventh-place result on today’s stage seven. Picking up a small one-minute penalty for exceeding the limit in a 30 km/h speed zone, Xavier is now 10th in the provisional overall standings. The Frenchman now his eyes set on moving higher up in the overall rankings during the remaining three days of the Dakar.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P7 – Overall P10
“It was a much better day for me and my speed was on point today. I was fast while also riding safely and not taking any big risks. I caught up with the leading group of riders in the special and decided to attack. Unfortunately, then I started feeling the effects of my sea sickness and was unable to give 100%. I took some more pills and I feel better now. Tomorrow we will have a different stage, with bikes, cars and trucks starting together in large groups. The stage will again be in the dunes so navigation will be the crucial factor.”
Still suffering with his injury, Toby Price battles on. Eighth place on the day’s stage, and making up time on a number of his closest rivals, the Australian successfully defended his third place in the provisional overall standings. Determined to make the finish, Price will keep on fighting for a top result.
Toby Price – Stage P8 – Overall P3
“The day has gone well, it ended up with a lot of us riding in a group today. We did get lost at one point and lose a few minutes but all-in-all things are going ok. Obviously, my wrist is still giving me some pain, but we’re past the point of no return now – there’s no stopping. I’m still sitting in third overall with just a few stages left so I’ll continue taking each day as it comes and keep on fighting.”
Slovenian KTM rider Stefan Svitko continues to impress. The 36-year-old was ninth on Monday’s stage and is currently eighth outright.
Matthias Walkner rode a solid stage seven. The third rider away from the start this morning, he navigated perfectly through the well-used route, ultimately catching a group of riders ahead of him. Successfully completing the day in 10th place, Matthias will enjoy an advantageous start position for tomorrows ‘Super Ica’ stage eight.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P10 – Overall P7
“Things started off well today, up to around kilometre-200 my pace was strong. I caught up with the guys in front after that and we got a little lost trying to find one of the waypoints. Towards the end of the stage I had quite a big crash but was luckily able to get straight back on. It’s been a tough day, but I’ve done my best and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Kevin Benavides started the day behind Quintanilla and, after catching him up on the track, continued until he experienced some trouble finding an awkwar dwaypoint. The Argentine rider arrived amid the main group posting twelfth best time and is now sixth in the provisional rankings.
Kevin Benavides – Stage P12 – Overall P6
Today was the most difficult stage of this Dakar in terms of navigation. I came out in second position and caught Quintanilla, and between the two of us we opened most of the stage. But at the end of the special, in the dunes, many pilots arrived from behind and between us and it was hard for us to find a waypoint, where we lost several minutes. In the final few kilometres there was fesh-fesh, dust and a lot of wind and it was quite dangerous. I have finished twelfth but it is fine for tomorrow to leave behind. We will see how the stage goes, with the cars and trucks ahead; If there is a lot of fesh-fesh, it will be difficult to overtake.”
The first rider to start the special stage, Pablo Quintanilla lost time trying to locate a number of waypoints. Posting the 14th best time for the day, the Chilean rally star is now less than 10 minutes behind the provisional overall leader.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P14 – Overall P5
“It was a very complicated stage and there were a few moments where we struggled to spot some waypoints. For me it seemed like a never-ending stage. I knew from the start that it would be hard for me to get a good stage result today, considering I was the first rider to start in the morning. It is what it is and I’m looking ahead to the coming stages. Tomorrow I will have a much better starting position from the second wave of riders. Everything is still open in the overall standings and my goal remains to battle for the win. It’s all to play for until the last day and the last few kilometres. I will continue giving my all until we reach the finish in Lima.”
Maintaining her excellent run of form, despite not feeling 100 percent comfortable on the rough stage, Laia Sanz placed 22nd fastest. The multiple world champion continues to sit just outside the top 15 in the overall standings in 16th place and is keen to improve on that position as the rally comes to a close.
Laia Sanz – Stage P22 – Overall P16
“It was a tough day for me today, I didn’t feel strong so didn’t want to push too hard. We were crossing traces from previous days a lot and I don’t enjoy that so much, I prefer to navigate my way through the stage. I arrived safely at the finish with no crashes, which is important. I am hoping that tomorrow I will feel comfortable to push again and improve my result.”
Tuesday’s stage eight of the rally, the ‘Super Ica’ will see the top 10 bikes, cars and the top five trucks set off in their finishing order from the previous day. As the fastest competitor from all classes, Sam Sunderland will have the task of opening the track. The total distance travelled for the day will be 575 kilometres, 360 of which timed special.
2019 Dakar Rally Provisional Results Stage Seven
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM 03:51’41
CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Honda +01’51
BRABEC Ricky USA Honda +06’30
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha +09’40
BENAVIDES Luciano ARG KTM +11’19
SHORT Andrew USA Husqvarna +11’29
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha +13’12
PRICE Toby AUS KTM +14’19
SVITKO Stefan SLO KTM +16’21
WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM +16’38
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Seven
BRABEC Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda 24:48’02
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha Official Team +07’47
PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +08’28
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +09’58
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Husqvarna Factory +09’59
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda +16’15
WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +16’16
SVITKO Stefan SLO Slovnaft Team KTM +37’09
SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Husqvarna Factory +39’17
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha Official Team +40’08
Dakar 2019 Stage Seven
San Juan de Marcona > San Juan de Marcona – Jan 14th
Claiming his first individual stage victory at this year’s Dakar Rally, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider Pablo Quintanilla has retaken the lead of the event’s provisional overall standings.
Entering the second week of Dakar in high spirits, Pablo Quintanilla put in a great performance on Sunday in Peru. Involved in a battle for the stage victory with fellow South American Kevin Benavides (Honda), Quintanilla took the virtual lead before the penultimate waypoint and never looked back.
Following a well-considered plan of attack, the FR 450 Rally mounted Quintanilla has put himself back into the rally’s overall lead with four crucial stages still to be contested in the Peruvian countryside. Overall, Pablo is now four minutes and 38 seconds ahead of preview leader Ricky Brabec, after the Honda man struggled to find a waypoint.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P1 – Overall P1
“Everything went according to plan today and I’m happy with the stage win. The day wasn’t easy, the pace was quite fast, and navigation was difficult. We also had to race through strong headwinds. We had a good battle with Kevin Benavides and at one point I managed to pass him and retain the lead. It’s good to be back on top in the overall. The race is still long and I want to stick to my plan. Tomorrow I will be the first rider to start the stage and this is surely a disadvantage. But my plan is to fight back for a good result on day eighth and then take advantage of the mass start on day nine. Lots of things can happen these next few days but I will do my best to keep my eyes focused on my goals.”
Ricky Brabec – Stage P6 – Overall P2
“It was another tough stage. The temperature was nice but the wind was a big factor. It’s kind of hard to ride all day with the wind pushing you around. At one point for about 50 km I was concerned about fuel. I know that we had filled up at the top at kilometre 80 at the neutralization. I was freaking out because I ran out of one of my tanks earlier than expected. On the whole it was a good day. There’s four days left. I’m glad to be at this bivouac full of fesh fesh that makes everything such a mess. I’m looking forward to the next four days. Hopefully I can stay in the fight and keep pushing. I feel great and my body is at 100%.”
Kevin Benavides fought nail and tooth for the stage win and nearly pulled it off, coming home less than two minutes shy of stage winner Quintanilla. However, the Argentine Monster Energy Honda Team climbed the overall leader board from seventh to fourth place, eating one minute into the overall leader’s time.
Kevin Benavides – Stage P2 – Overall P4
“Today was a good day. I changed the strategy to start pushing this second week and today I started further out. The idea was to finish as well as possible later on, so this second position on the stage is fine despite having lost a bit of time towards the end. We have to keep going and not waste too much time in the remaining stages.”
Putting in a superb ride in the tough conditions, Matthias Walkner was able to navigate his way successfully through the stage despite riding alone for the majority of the day. His third position, just over four minutes from the leading time, moves the Austrian up to sixth in the provisional overall standings.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P3 – Overall P6
“I had a good ride today, navigation was really tricky, but I had some lines in front of me, so I just had to stay focused and use my head a little. I rode the majority of the day alone and that can be tough sometimes, but I’m pleased with my riding and the result, especially as the overall pace was so high. Overall, it has been a good day.”
Just 27 seconds adrift from teammate Walkner, Toby Price continues to battle on despite the increasing pain in the wrist he broke and had pinned in the lead up to Dakar 2019. The Australian’s fourth place result puts him in an ideal start position for Monday’s stage seven. Price lies third in the provisional standings.
Toby Price – Stage P4 – Overall P3
“It’s been a really tough day today. My wrist is hurting more and more as the race goes on and it’s making things uncomfortable out there. I’ll keep cruising on though and I’m still in the race, it’s just a bit more like survival mode at the moment. Nevertheless, third overall with four stages left to race is encouraging. The goal is the same – make it safely to the finish – so I’ll keep on pushing on tomorrow.”
With six stages contested so far in Peru, WR450F Rally mounted Van Beveren has finished inside the top five in five of them. Holding on to a strong fifth place in the overall standings, Adrien is less than ten minutes behind the event’s provisional leader.
Adrien Van Beveren – Stage P5 – Overall P5
“It was a hard day but everything worked fine for me. We woke up super early to start the stage and that was tough on our bodies. After we took the start of the special I saw Santolino on the ground and stopped to help him. I lost a few minutes there but got the time back when I reached the finish. As soon as the medics arrived I got back on my bike and returned to the stage. I pushed hard while also making sure I avoided mistakes. This race is all about managing your risks and keeping it on two wheels. Overall, I’m happy with my performance today and I my starting position for tomorrow is not that bad. There is still four days of racing here in Peru and it’s going to be pretty intense.”
Following his strong third place result on stage five, Xavier de Soultrait was unable to show his true potential on Sunday’s stage six. Suffering sea sickness in the massive dunes, Xavier had to settle for an 11th place result on stage six. He will be the 11th rider to start tomorrow’s stage seven.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P6 – Overall P9
“It was a difficult day in the dunes. I was among the first riders to start the stage and soon after I felt sea sickness from riding up and down in the dunes. I got some special pills for that and did the best I could until the end of the stage. I might have lost some time in the overall, but I am physically and mentally strong at the moment. I also have a great starting position for tomorrow and I am planning to take full advantage of it. Tomorrow I want to push as hard as possible to make up time. My goal is to battle for the stage win and I will do everything possible to make it happen.”
Earning yet another top 10 stage result, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Andrew Short wrapped up stage six with an eighth-place result. Battling through tough conditions and tricky navigation the American racer is now tenth overall, 38 minutes behind his team partner Quintanilla.
Andrew Short – Stage P8 – Overall P10
“It was a tricky day for me. The dunes are really soft and it’s hard to get a good rhythm. I saw a rider crash in front of me in the first part of the stage and that was a bit disappointing. It took me some time to find my pace. After the halfway point I caught up with a few other riders and we continued the rest of the stage racing alongside each other. It was a hard day for all of us with the wind and the terrain, everything was really tough. Despite all that, I’m still in a good position in the race and I have a few more stages to improve my position in the overall standings.”
Impressing again with another top-10 finish, Luciano Benavides has really come into form on the 2019 Dakar Rally. Riding intelligently, the Argentinian claimed ninth on stage six and sits just one place outside of the top 10 overall with four stages left to race.
Luciano Benavides – Stage P9 – Overall P11
“Today was a really long day and very windy. I eased off a little at the end because of the conditions and didn’t want to make a mistake and lose time. I feel good physically and mentally and the main goal is still to get a good finish. I am lying in 11th place at the moment and I would love to break into the top 10. I am really enjoying the rally because I’m learning all the time and I can feel my pace and confidence improving as my experience increases.”
Following his win on the previous day of racing, Sam Sunderland was given the unenviable task of opening today’s technical and gruelling stage. The British rider lead out from start to finish but unfortunately lost time overall to the following pack. Sunderland lies seventh overall, but vows to push his hardest right to the finish.
Sam Sunderland – Stage P12 – Overall P7
“I was up against it a little today. After stopping to help Goncalves on the fifth stage I had no markers to set my pace and by winning the stage I upset my overall strategy for the race a little. As we know, opening the stage is always a disadvantage and today, with harsh conditions and tricky navigation, it cost me a lot of time. Personally for me, I was pleased with my riding and how I managed the navigation out front, that was really encouraging. I lost a little time after clipping a rock and damaging my rear brake, but the team were great and replaced that at the neutralisation. The race isn’t over yet though and I’m going to keep fighting. It’s Dakar, it’s always a challenge.”
Claiming her best result of this year’s rally to date, Laia Sanz is feeling good and enjoyed her performance on stage six. Using her skills and experience, Laia was able to make up good time at the beginning of the timed special where accurate navigation was required. Completing the stage in 15th elevates the Spaniard to 16th in the provisional overall standings.
Laia Sanz – Stage P15 – Overall P16
“I felt really good first thing in the dunes today. I was able to gain on the guys in front and that is always nice for your confidence. The second part of the stage opened out a lot and was a lot faster. I was riding on my own and it gets difficult to judge your pace, the faster sections are not my favourite either. My navigation was accurate all day and I think I improved in the overall too, so I’m happy.”
2019 Dakar Rally Provisional Results Stage Six
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Husqvarna Factory 03:50’47
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda +01’52
WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +04’21
PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +04’48
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha Official Rally Team 05’48
BRABEC Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda Team +07’30
SVITKO Stefan SLO Slovnaft Team KTM +08’20
SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Husqvarna Factory +13’54
BENAVIDES Luciano ARG Red Bull KTM Rally Factory +15’13
CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda +21’47
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Six
The second part of the two-day long marathon stage, Friday’s stage five of this year’s Dakar brought competitors back to the Arequipa bivouac. The stage featured a mass motocross style start off the beach at Moquegua.
Riders set off in groups of 10 according to their finishing positions from the previous day’s stage four, each group split by five minutes. From the beach, competitors headed into the Ilo dunes for the remainder of the 345-kilometre timed special. With a number of riders racing together on the stage, split times were close to every waypoint.
Starting in the first group, Sam Sunderland got off to a solid start, opting not to push straight away and risk a mistake or incident with a fellow competitor. Coming across a fallen Paulo Goncalves, Sunderland stopped and assisted until the medical team arrived, setting off again after 10 minutes. Pushing hard to make up time the sand specialist demonstrated the skill he is known for, almost catching the front group before the finish. With the time lost awarded back to him, the Brit had done enough to win the stage and move up to second in the provisional overall standings, closing to within a minute of outright rally leader Ricky Brabec.
Sam Sunderland – Stage P1 – Overall P2
“Obviously the first thing is to wish Goncalves the best after his accident – it’s always scary when you see that happen in front of you. I stayed with him for over 10 minutes but it’s difficult to gauge how long you’re actually stopped for. A lot of riders passed us and so when I got going again, I just pushed as hard as I could. It’s so difficult when you are behind like that, to know if you are gaining on the guys in front or losing ground. I saw the group just before the finish so I knew I had made up some time. I’m lying second now and it’s been a good first half to the race, but I know if the next five days are going to be anything like these we’ve just had, it’s going to end up as a seriously tough rally.”
Yamaha’s Xavier de Soultrait secured a solid runner-up result on Friday’s stage five of the 2019 Dakar Rally and moved up to eighth in the provisional overall standings.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P2 – Overall P8
“It was another good stage for me and I’m really happy with my second place. I started the special at a steady pace to preserve my tyres. The pace was fast and there were some dangerous spots in the special. As we were getting closer to the end of the special, I was feeling great on my bike so I decided to push hard for a good time. I made my attack and when I got to the finish I was told I had won the stage. Later on we learned that Sam Sunderland was given back the time he lost to assist an injured rider, so he ended up winning the stage with me a close second. I’m wrapping up this first week of the rally on a high. I’m really happy with the way things have worked out for me so far and I’m looking forward to the second week that starts on Sunday.”
It was another strong stage for defending Dakar Champion Matthias Walkner. After clearing the group that had formed following the morning’s mass-start, the Austrian was able to increase his pace and put in an excellent performance on the latter half of the special. Walkner was the first to cross the line, posting the third fastest time just over three-minutes down on team-mate Sunderland. Unfortunately, a three-minute speed penalty then dropped Matthias to an eventual 10th.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P10 – Overall P7
“It’s always fun to set off motocross-style on the beach like that, but I didn’t get the best start and then as we hit the Fesh-Fesh I found myself in clouds of dust and wasn’t able to do anything about it. It carried on like that for around 200 kilometres and it was really frustrating. Things improved towards the end of the stage where I was able to get in front and open the piste. I pushed hard then and made up some good time and was actually the first to finish. My ankle is still sore but I don’t think it is affecting my pace, especially when the adrenalin is flowing. I just need to be careful that I don’t put my foot down and twist it more when I’m riding. Now I am looking forward to the rest day tomorrow.”
Earning a fourth-place result for the day, WR450F rider Adrien Van Beveren remains fifth in the event’s provisional overall standings.
Adrien Van Beveren – Stage P4 – Overall P5
“This Dakar is proving to be quite challenging. Coming to Peru we thought it would just be racing in the dunes, but it turns out there’s a lot more than just sandy dunes. Today we went through some parts with fesh-fesh and lots of stones. Despite not being my favourite terrain, today I got a great feeling on the bike and was able to push. I took my time and once I felt confident in this terrain I was able to ride the way I know. This Dakar is not just about raw speed. There’s lots of parts where you need to be patient and think about the overall classification. I felt I could have possibly won the stage today, but I wanted to make sure I had a good starting position for Sunday so I slowed down a bit towards the end. This race is really intense. There’s 10 to 15 racers who are able to win stages and you need to be on top of your game each day. I’m in a good position now for the next stage and I’m looking forward to it.”
Pablo Quintanilla finished 13th on stage and slipped to third in the provisional overall.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P13 – Overall P3
“Five days done and I’m in a great position in this rally. The first part of the stage was a lot of fun. I took the lead after the mass start, but then decided to stay off the gas a bit. My eyes are focused on the overall classification and I’m in a good spot to attack during the second week. Today I felt great on my bike. I was able to get a good pace and do my own race. The Dakar is always a long event and you need to always see the overall picture. I’m happy with my performance today because I’ve managed to put myself in a great position for Sunday’s stage six. I am feeling great physically and I’m looking forward to the second week. It’s important to get back as much time as possible on Sunday so that I can then control my pace for the rest of the race.”
Toby Price again put in an extremely brave performance to place ninth on the tough stage five. Despite aggravating the injury to his wrist, the 2016 Dakar Champion was able to maintain a solid pace throughout the timed special and goes into the rest day in a very creditable fourth place overall after losing a rank overnight.
Toby Price – Stage P8 – Overall P4
“It was a really, really tough day for me today. Starting in groups of 10 on the beach means that you not only have to fight for position with other riders, you have to keep an eye on your navigation while dodging the rocks and dust thrown up by the guys in front. My pace today was good but I cased out on one drop and that put a lot of strain through my wrist again. I was able to continue, but I am really thankful for the rest day now. I am happy to have reached the halfway stage of the rally so hopefully after a day off I will be ready to go again on Sunday.”
Despite losing a little time with just five kilometres to go, Laia Sanz completed the fifth stage in 20th position, and now sits 19th in the overall standings. Happy with the pace on her KTM 450 Rally, Laia is glad of tomorrow’s day off but is looking forward to the remainder of the rally.
Laia Sanz – Stage P20 – Overall P19
“My day went well today, I am happy with my speed and rhythm especially with everyone riding together and the times being so close. I’m not so keen on the mass-start, it’s more difficult to judge things when you are riding in a group like that. I did lose a little time today right near the end of the stage when a rock got stuck in my rear wheel but overall it was another good day. I’m pleased with how the rally is going so far, but I’m definitely looking forward to the rest day tomorrow.”
During tomorrow’s rest day, riders will catch up on some well-needed sleep and prepare themselves physically and mentally for the challenging week of racing that lies ahead.
2019 Dakar Rally Provisional Results Stage Five
Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 4:11:48
Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 4:15:11 +3:23
Lorenzo Santolino (ESP), Sherco, 4:15:48 +4:00
Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 4:16:14 +4:26
Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 4:16:24 +4:36
Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 4:16:24 +4:36
Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, 4:16:53 +5:05
Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 4:17:33
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Five
Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 16:51:34
Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 16:52:33 +0:59
Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 16:54:26 +2:52
Today saw the first leg of the marathon stage at the 2019 Dakar en route from Arequipa to Moquegua, where the 124 remaining motorcycle riders had an early start to cover the opening 85-kilometre link section before the first part of the 205-kilometre special. The day was soured by biting cold and humidity in both the city and the mountainous regions. The special consisted of soft dunes with many areas of dusty Fesh-Fesh leading into faster, hard-packed river beds. Riders had to take care to preserve their tyres on the faster sections while not losing too much time to their rivals. A short liaison then brought the riders to the temporary bivouac situated near Moquegua. As the marathon stage rules state, riders receive no outside assistance overnight. All maintenance must be carried out by themselves or fellow competitors.
Nonetheless, Honda’s Ricky Brabec set off like a bat out of hell, marking the best time in the process. After a neutralisation of 54 kilometres, the second part of the special, over 146 kilometres, proved even better for the American, who cruised home with a six-minute advantage over the nearest finisher, dethroning the previous overall leader Pablo Quintanilla with a walloping twenty minute gap. In doing so, Brabec triumphs for the second time in a stage after the victory in 2017 on the La Paz-Uyuni stage. The American takes the head of the overall rankings for the first time in the world’s toughest rally.
Ricky Brabec – Stage P1 – Overall P1
“Wow! I needed it. I needed a victory like that! Today I wanted to push because as we had studied yesterday, winning today would be able to help me in tomorrow’s stage. We will have the mass motocross-style start, just like on the motocross starting grids. I’m really very happy to have won the stage with a good margin of time which has helped place me at the top of leader board.”
Following his challenging stage three, Matthias Walkner was the 15th rider to enter the day’s timed special. Immediately pushing hard and making the most of his experience to catch and pass riders ahead of him, the 2018 Dakar Champion maintained his strong pace throughout the day on the fast, treacherous route. A heavy landing from one drop-off caused Walkner to hurt his ankle slightly but the Austrian rider was able to continue to complete the stage and finish as runner-up.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P2 – Overall P7
“The day was good for me – the bike is running well and I didn’t crash at all today. I did land quite hard from one jump and thought I might have injured my ankle but it seems to be ok. It’s great here in the bivouac, we are all here together as one team and that feels good. I managed to get some time back in the overall today, so I’ll aim to do the same tomorrow.”
Despite a small crash in the latter half of the special, Toby Price put in a great ride to finish as third fastest, less than a minute down on the hard-charging Walkner. Still nursing his injured wrist, the Australian is looking forward to tomorrow’s slightly shorter stage five.
Toby Price – Stage P3 – Overall P3
“That was tough today. It was a long stage and a lot of it was made up of rocky tracks and rivers, they are the worst for my wrist. I did have one get-off along the way but luckily not too bad. I’m not comfortable but it is the way it is and I have to work around it. The goal for the rest of the rally is to keep on doing what I’ve been doing and get the best result possible.”
Fifth away at the start of the stage, Sam Sunderland maintained a strong pace throughout the day, despite losing touch with many of the riders ahead of him and navigating his own way through the fast 405-kilometre stage. The British rider ultimately placed fourth and now also lies fourth in the provisional overall standings.
Sam Sunderland – Stage P4 – Overall P4
“The day started off on some wide-open plains, which was nice. But then they had us go through some really technical stuff, which turned out to be really tricky. I dropped the bike at one point in a ravine and had some trouble getting it to point in the right direction again, but apart from that everything was good. I had to focus to keep my pace at the end there, but I’m happy with my result and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla is holding on to a strong runner-up position in the event’s provisional overall standings. Four days into the 2019 Dakar and the event in Peru has already proven to be a big challenge for all competitors. Thursday’s stage four was a fast-paced one that featured many tricky navigational challenges.
Racing without the pressure of the opening stages, Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren remained fast and consistent from start to finish. Posting the fifth quickest time for the day, the WR450F Rally powered rider is now fifth overall and less than nine-minutes behind the provisional overall leader.
Adrien Van Beveren – Stage P5 – Overall P5
“Everything is going well for me so far and I’m feeling good on the bike. The terrain was not so much to my liking today but I managed to enjoy the stage. The pressure I felt in the opening stages is now gone and I can just focus on my goals for every stage. I’m happy I’ve reached that point and from now on I can just do my own race. Today we rode over some dry river beds and there was a lot of fesh-fesh. The pace was high and I was able to ride well. We’ve made some good work this year with my bike setup and it gives me great confidence in this kind of terrain. I want to continue pushing for some good results in the stages to come.”
Monster Energy Honda Team’s Paulo Gonçalves continues to improve in the 2019 edition of the Dakar after a spleen operation just a month ago. The Portuguese rider finished with the sixth fastest time of the day and lies in eighth in the general standings.
Paulo Goncalves – Stage P6 – Overall P8
“Yeah, I’m quite happy. We have done four stages and 40% of the 2019 Dakar and I have made to the marathon stage well, in good health and in a good position. Today I pressed hard until the refuelling through the river area which had plenty of stones. I was very careful. I’m happy because every day I feel better and closer to full fitness. Now let’s try to fight the remaining days of the race.”
Kevin Benavides occupied ninth place at the finish, one spot behind team-mate Nacho Cornejo, with the Argentine now in sixth place overall.
Kevin Benavides – Stage P9 – Overall P6
“It was an important stage really. We went through a lot of terrain types, hard track, stony areas and even some fesh-fesh. It was fine, but I dropped a bit of time trying to find a waypoint and it didn’t go quite as I had planned. It was difficult to catch other riders because they raised a lot of dust and I preferred to take care of the bike and be able to push later.”
Pablo Quintanilla battled through the day’s tough navigation to post the 14th best time on the special stage but is currently second in the provisional overall standings, two-minutes and 19-seconds behind new provisional overall leader, Ricky Brabec.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P14 – Overall P2
“It was a really hard stage today. The first part had some tricky navigation in the fesh-fesh. In the last waypoint before the refuelling I made a mistake but was able to get back on the tracks quickly. Then after the neutralisation point the tracks were really hard. There was a long dry river bed with many stones and it was hard to make some time. I knew from the beginning of the stage that it was possible to get caught by other riders and when it happened I just tried to ride with them. Overall, I’m happy to have finished the first part of the marathon stage without any problems. After some rest tonight, I’m hoping to be back stronger for the second part of the marathon stage tomorrow.”
After winning Wednesday’s stage three, Xavier de Soultrait had the demanding task of opening the stage for all following competitors and earned a 15th place result on stage four. Xavier is now ninth and the second Yamaha powered rider inside the top 10 in the provisional overall standings.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P15 – Overall P9
“It was a challenging day for me. Today I led the way for most of the special, opening the tracks with a small group of riders. At one point the others got lost and I was left alone opening the tracks in the dunes. I’m really confident with my navigation and I was happy not to make any big mistakes. When you’re leading the way in these conditions, it’s impossible not to make errors and I made a few of them today, which cost me some time. This is always part of the Dakar, we take it and move on. I have a very good starting position for tomorrow and that gives me extra motivation to push. Tomorrow we will be starting in rows of 10 riders every five minutes. I will be in the second row so I am hoping I can catch the leading group and ride with them. The goal now is to reach the Rest Day on Saturday with a good position in the overall.”
Experienced Dakar racer Laia Sanz knows the importance of caring for your bike on the first half of the marathon stage. Putting in another solid ride, Laia once again finished the day inside the top-20 as 19th fastest.
Laia Sanz – Stage P20 – Overall P19
“It was a long day today but I am happy with how it went. It’s important to arrive here at the bivouac with the bike in one piece on the marathon stage and I managed to finish without any problems. The day was quite hard with lots of dust at first and then later on the river bed was really tough. I’m hoping for another good day tomorrow.”
Queensland’s Rodney Faggotter was forced to retire with technical problems earlier in the rally.
Competitors spend the night at Moquegua camp where they can rest and prepare the second leg of the marathon stage. The riders will, however, be left to their own devices as no outside mechanical assistance is permitted. Instead any technical help will have to wait until the close of tomorrow’s stage back at the Arequipa bivouac. The fifth stage will add a total of 776 kilometres to the 1109 disputed so far and will include 345 kilometres against the clock.
2019 Dakar Rally Provisional Results Stage Four
BRABEC Ricky USA Honda 03:40’30
WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM +06’19
PRICE Toby AUS KTM +07’07
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM +11’35
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha +13’29
GONCALVES Paulo POR Honda +13’36
SVITKO Stefan SLO KTM +14’10
CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Honda 14’33
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Honda +15’20
SANTOLINO Lorenzo SPA Sherco +17’02
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Four
BRABEC Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda Team 12:33’00
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing +02’19
PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Team +04’22
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Team +05’45
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha Official Rally Team +08’56
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +09’01
WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Team +09’31
GONCALVES Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +20’45
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha Official Rally Team +22’00
Xavier de Soultrait managed to make full use of his navigational skills during today’s stage three of the Dakar. One of the first riders to find his way out of a tricky section in the first part of the stage, Xavier secured an emphatic stage win to move up to sixth in the event’s provisional overall standings.
Stage three also saw the retirement of stage one winner Joan Barreda, the Honda man out of the rally. The Spaniard came across a low visibility foggy and rocky area whilst opening the track, lost control of the bike which went into a slide down a ravine which it proved impossible to escape from. Barreda’s Dakar had ended at kilometre 143.
Joan Barreda – Out
“Sadly the Dakar ended for me today. It had been going very well, opening the track and pushing the riders ahead. When I reached the mountains I found a lot of fog that limited my visibility. Following the directions of the roadbook and the GPS I reached a cliff, when I tried to return I saw that Walkner had also arrived, they saw me and stopped and were able to turn around, but from below it was impossible for me to climb back up. I tried to go down further and look for a route out along the ravine but it was impossible.”
San Juan de Marcona > Arequipa 798 km
The agenda of the day saw riders set out from the bivouac at San Juan de Marcona to start the first special of the day five kilometres later. The timed section concluded some 264 kilometres later followed by a short two-kilometre liaison section which brought the riders to a second 65-kilometre special. Before arriving back at the camp in Arequipa, it was back in the saddle for a 461-kilometre jaunt to take the mileage to a whopping 800 kilometres. Yamaha’s Xavier de Soultrait fared best on the biggest day so far of Dakar 2019.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P1 – Overall P6
“It feels great to get this stage win in the bag. We had some challenging navigation today and I’m glad I made no mistake. For me this was the first proper rally stage of this race. My plan going into this stage was to push and everything worked to my favour. I had a steady pace from start to finish and this helped me secure the win. I want to keep that same momentum throughout this first week of the race and then try to push harder whenever I get the chance to do so. Everything is going well for me so far, the bike is working great and I’ve had no crashes or mistakes.”
It was Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla, with a close runner-up result on the day’s timed special stage, that is now the rally’s provisional overall leader with three out of the 10 stages contested in Peru.
Putting his experience to good use, Pablo Quintanilla enjoyed a mistake free stage to cross the line with the second fastest time of the day. In a total time of more than four hours, Pablo was just 15 seconds slower than the stage winner. The Chilean rider now holds a very handy 11-minute lead at the top of the rally’s overall standings.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P2 – Overall P1
“The real Dakar has just started and I’m happy with where I’m at right now. Today we had a difficult stage. There was a lot of fog and in some parts you couldn’t see far ahead. If you tried to push, you ended up missing the right tracks. I took my time there and rode really carefully. At one crucial point in the mountains I made the right decision and gained some time to my rivals. Navigation today was really tricky. I’m having fun on my bike at the moment and I want to keep that same momentum going for the stages to come.”
It was double congratulations for Kevin Benavides who was wished happy returns as he headed out from the San Juan de Marcona bivouac on his birthday this morning and again after an excellent stage performance by Argentinean rider when he arrived back. Monster Energy Honda Team’s Benavides had been in the running for the stage victory, but had to settle for third place on the day, 2’37 behind the stage winner. Benavides thus moved up the general rankings to find himself rubbing shoulders with rally’s top guns.
Kevin Benavides – Stage P3 – Overall P2
“Today was a very long day. I took advantage of having a good starting position to attack. I felt comfortable with the bike, I made some navigational mistakes but in the end it was a good day. I’m happy to climb some positions in the general and I’m gaining confidence every stage. It is not bad to move up to the second position of the general on my birthday.”
Adrien Van Beveren managed to climb three spots in the provisional standings. Currently sitting 13 minutes behind the provisional overall leader and in fourth position, Adrien is looking ahead to the coming stages in the dunes of South America.
Adrien Van Beveren – Stage P4 – Overall P4
“I’m really satisfied with my performance today. The stage was hard and there was a lot of fog in the first part of it. At one point, we got stuck in the fog with a few other riders, but I managed to find my way out of there pretty fast. Going into the second part of the stage in the dunes I was planning to push more to make some time, but a small issue with my clutch didn’t let me ride the way I would have wanted to. The Dakar is a huge adventure and I’m glad I found my way out of this small issue and managed to post a decent time on the stage. All members of our team are giving their best and now our eyes are set on the marathon stage that starts tomorrow.”
The sixth rider to enter the timed special, Sam Sunderland had a solid start to the day, riding consistently and navigating well. After clearing the fog-covered mountain section the Brit was able to push on a little harder to complete the day in fifth – one place up from his start position.
Sam Sunderland – Stage P5 – Overall P3
“It was a really tricky stage, there was a lot of fog on the top of one of the mountains and that made riding and navigation tough. The only thing you could do was ease down on your pace a little and take a lot of care. At one point visibility was down to just a few metres. The road book had a lot of long notes that weren’t as clear as they could have been and I think a few people struggled with that. As the day went on the riders grouped up and that is always a bit unpredictable because you don’t know what the other guys are going to do. This is the Dakar though, we know it’s difficult and we know we’ll have stages like this. It’s still early days so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Again opting to prioritise bringing his KTM 450 Rally home safely, rather than pushing and risking a mistake, Toby Price placed ninth at the end of the stage. Continuing to ride at a good and consistent pace, the Australian now sits fifth overall in the provisional overall standings, just three minutes down on Sunderland.
Toby Price – Stage P9 – Overall P5
“I think it was more about survival than racing today. It was a really tough stage but I got through it and I’m feeling good and that’s what matters. I got lost early on and that cost me some time to the front runners. Then at about the 130-kilometre mark there was a lot of fog in the mountains. The road book didn’t have too many details and there were a few cliffs you could have dropped off. Luckily, I missed them. I’m still trying to hang on and get to the end of each stage but overall things are good.”
It proved to be a tough physical test for Paulo Gonçalves who held a swift pace to place a fine sixth on the day.
Paulo Goncalves – Stage P6 – Overall P9
“Today was quite long stage, quite similar to yesterday’s with lots of sand and many dunes. I have felt very comfortable and with a lot more confidence. I was able to push with a good pace, but it was a pity about an error just before the refueling that made me lose more than 10 minutes, but the important thing is that I was able to finish. I have good feelings, tomorrow the marathon starts and I want to do well.”
Ricky Brabec suffered the setback of being forced to open the track which led to a twelfth place finish.
Ricky Brabec – Stage P13 – Overall P7
“The stage was tough. There was a lot of sand dunes and a lot of navigation. I ended up opening a lot of the stage. There was a lot of fog there. Joan went down a ravine or the wrong side of the mountain or something. I really had to go slow there. At kilometre 178 there was a really difficult waypoint which was not where it was shown in the roadbook. I spent fifteen minutes looking around for the way point and rode around for 30 kilometres. It was a bad day. We’ll have to make it up. But for me, in my mind, it’s going to be tough.”
Opening a stage is always tricky and Stage Two winner Matthias Walkner had that honour on stage three, entering the timed special at just after 6am on Wednesday morning. Riding well for the first part of the route, a crash ended up costing the Austrian some time. Despite navigation proving to be the toughest yet in this year’s event, Walkner regained his composure to place 15th on the day and now lies eighth overall.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P15 – Overall P8
“Things were pretty hard for me today. I opened the stage but only for the first 60 kilometres or so because I had a crash going over one of the drops. After that I couldn’t find my rhythm so well again. It was really foggy and normally you would have to stop in those conditions. All you could do is drop your speed and take things really carefully. I picked up the pace later on in the stage but lost some time on the leaders. It’s only day three though and we have many kilometres left to race.”
Rodney Faggotter suffered a technical issue after the last waypoint and the experienced Aussie could not finish the stage.
Stage four of the 2019 Dakar Rally marks the first half of the marathon stage. Riders will leave Arequipa and head for the temporary bivouac in Moquegua where they will receive no outside assistance from their teams. The 511-kilometre stage includes a gruelling 405-kilometre timed special – the longest of the rally.
2019 Dakar Rally Provisional Results Stage Three
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier 18 FRA Yamaha 04:07’42
QUINTANILLA Pablo 6 CHI Husqvarna +00’15
BENAVIDES Kevin 47 ARG Honda +02’37
VAN BEVEREN Adrien 4 FRA Yamaha +06’42
SUNDERLAND Sam 14 GBR KTM +08’26
GONCALVES Paulo 2 POR Honda +09’31
SVITKO Stefan 11 SLO KTM +10’50
MENA Oriol 7 SPA Hero +11’15
PRICE Toby 3 AUS KTM +14’16
METGE Michael 16 FRA Sherco +14’45
SANTOLINO Lorenzo SPA Sherco+14’59
SHORT Andrew 29 USA Husqvarna +15’10
BRABEC Ricky 15 USA Honda +20’01
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Three
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Factory Husqvarna 08:34’28
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda +11’23
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Factory +12’12
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha Official Rally +13’29
PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Factory +15’17
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamaha Official Rally +16’52
BRABEC Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda +18’02
WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Factory +21’14
GONCALVES Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda +25’11
SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Husqvarna Factory +29’15
Stage two of the 2019 Dakar Rally challenged all motorcycle competitors with an extremely fast, and rough, timed special of 342 kilometres. Leaving Pisco and heading south along the coast towards San Juan de Marcona the unusual stage saw the cars opening the route, leaving the bikes to deal with the many tracks ahead of them in the sand. The added traffic not only caused the terrain to cut up badly, but also made navigation even more of a challenge.
Following his solid ride on the short, opening day’s stage, Matthias Walkner was the seventh rider to enter today’s timed special. Feeling comfortable on his KTM 450 Rally, the reigning Dakar Champion opted to push right from the beginning.
Dakar 2019 Stage Two Video
For the majority of the stage Walkner chased down Honda’s Ricky Brabec ahead of him, only to head the American rider in the last 40-kilometres and ultimately claim the stage win by a narrow 22-seconds.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P1 – Overall P2
“That was a long and really, really fast stage. It was hard to judge the pace of the riders in front, so early on I decided to push and give my best. It was enough to set the fastest time, which is great but I’m not too keen on stages like that – two or three in a year is enough for me. Crossing the tracks left by the cars on such a tricky stage can be quite daunting sometimes and I’m glad to reach the finish safely.”
Ricky Brabec – Stage P2 – Overall P3
“The second stage was awesome. More or less like what I’m used to at home. Lot’s of fast track, lots of rocks, fesh fesh and some dunes. I had a fun day, and rode most of the day with Quintanilla. It was great so we’ll see what happens tomorrow. Third overall is not that good. We’ve got to be in front. So we are going to try tomorrow.”
Joan Barreda, who opened the special alone, posted third, 1m41s seconds behind stage winner Walkner. The 35-year-old Spaniard still leads the Rally overall with a 1m31s buffer over Walkner after the KTM rider promoted himself from P7 right through to P2 after a sensational day in the dunes for the Austrian.
Joan Barreda – Stage P3 – Overall P1
“Days like today are really important. When you start out in first position, winning is very difficult. Open the track without making any mistakes throughout the day is really complicated, but these are the days that you really make progress on. At first I doubted as to whether to follow the tracks or not, but in the part on the beach I saw that they were catching me up and following the tracks I was able to push hard with good pace. In the end it turned out to be a perfect stage, with a very good starting position for tomorrow.”
Despite a small mistake that caused him to get stuck early on in the stage, Toby Price went on to post the fourth fastest time of the day, three minutes behind stage winner Walkner. Although still riding in pain due to his injured wrist, Price now sits fifth overall in the provisional overall standings and is determined to maintain his strong pace as the rally progresses.
Toby Price – Stage P4 – Overall P5
“Day two was long, 342 kilometres on my wrist was really tough. It didn’t help that I got stuck in a dune around the 50-kilometre mark and had to pull the bike out and turn around. That hurt my wrist a little more but I managed to live with it for the rest of the stage, even though it was really bumpy after the cars had been through. All in all, I’m pretty happy with my time and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Making good use of his vast rally racing experience, Pablo Quintanilla put in a steady but importantly mistake-free performance on Tuesday’s stage two of the Dakar. Pushing hard to gain some time in the opening part of the special, the Chilean rally star eventually finished less than four-minutes behind the day’s winner Matthias Walkner. Currently fourth in the provisional overall standings, Pablo sits in a very good place ahead of the remainder of the rally.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P5 – Overall P4
“Stage two was a long and tough one but I had a good feeling on my bike. The pace was quite high from the beginning and we were riding a lot across the beach. I pushed hard in the first part of the special stage. After the refueling the conditions changed a lot. We were following the cars and there were lots of different tracks everywhere, so I decided to keep it steady and avoid taking any risks. I kept a good pace until the end and managed to get a good overall time for the day. The gap to the leaders is still controllable so I am looking ahead to tomorrow’s stage.”
Now sitting sixth, one place behind Price in the overall standings, Sam Sunderland rode another calculated stage, minimising any risks on the heavily worn terrain. Although not quite finding his rhythm on the long timed special, the Brit is still confident that his pace is good and is feeling fit and motivated for the rest of the event.
Sam Sunderland – Stage P6 – Overall P6
“It was a pretty tricky stage covering the car lines. You are always cross-checking the road book to make sure you’re not making any mistakes. I didn’t find my rhythm as well as I would have liked, I know my pace wasn’t too bad but I didn’t feel so strong out there. As the speeds were so high today, I decided to ease off a little after the refuel to conserve my tyre. It may be that I didn’t have to, but this early in the rally I’d rather be safe than sorry.”
Adrien Van Beveren posted the seventh best time in Tuesday’s timed special and is the top ranked Yamaha rider. Currently seventh in the provisional overall rankings, the WR450F Rally powered racer is looking ahead to the coming stages of the rally.
Adrien Van Beveren – Stage P7 – Overall P7
“Today we were treated with a fast and difficult stage. There was a lot of fesh-fesh and some parts with loads of stones. It’s quite hard to feel comfortable racing in this terrain but I did my best to stay close to the leaders. There were also lots of tracks from the cars and it was easy to make navigational mistakes. In the dunes I felt good on my bike and managed to gain some time, but overall I had to be patient and try not to make costly mistakes. There’s still a long way to go in this Dakar and I’m now are set on tomorrow’s stage three.”
Queensland Yamaha dealer Rodney Faggotter put in another steady performance on stage two. The 42-year-old collected a 29th place result and is now 27th in the provisional overall standings.
Rodney Faggotter – Stage P29 – Overall P27
“We’re just two days into this Dakar and we’ve already entered the most demanding stages. The stage today was fast and long. For me, the goal is to remain consistent and bring my Yamaha back at the bivouac safely. It’s all going according to plan so far and I’m looking forward to the dune stages to come.”
Stage three of the 2019 Dakar Rally leaves the bivouac at San Juan de Marcona and again heads south along the coast of the South Pacific towards the city of Arequipa. The 798-kilometre stage includes another long timed special of 331 kilometres.
2019 Dakar Rally Provisional Results Stage Two
WALKNER Matthias AUT KTM 03:21’57
BRABEC Ricky USA Honda +00’22
BARREDA Joan SPA Honda +01’41
PRICE Toby AUS KTM +03’06
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Husqvarna +03’24
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR KTM +06’03
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha +09’03
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Honda +09’59
SHORT Andrew USA Husqvarna +12’25
CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Honda +13’43
GONCALVES Paulo POR Honda +14’12 29. FAGGOTTER Rodney AUS Yamaha +33’13
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Two
BARREDA Joan SPA Monster Energy Honda Team 04:23’14
WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +01’31
BRABEC Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda Team +01’33
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing +03’17
PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +04’33
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +07’18
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamaha Official Rally Team +10’19
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +12’18
CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +17’24
SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing +17’37
GONCALVES Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +19’12 27. FAGGOTTER Rodney AUS Yamaha +42’59
The opening stage of the 41st Dakar Rally took competitors from the host city of Lima to Pisco, near the southern coast of Peru. Although short at just 84 kilometres, the day’s timed special still threw up a few challenges. Starting in reverse order, the top riders would have to wait until last to get their chance to enter the stage. Dust thrown up from the riders in front made overtaking difficult with the Peruvian heat also making conditions tough.
Honda’s Joan Barreda was quickest out of the blocks, obviously eager to make up for the disappointment of retiring while second in the rally last year, the 35-year-old Spaniard ended day one 1m34s ahead of Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla
Joan Barreda – P1
“I’m very happy to start like this. Today was a short stage but where everyone went very fast. Without making mistakes I managed to push for the whole of the special. In the beginning it’s always a bit difficult to pick up the rhythm, but from kilometre 20 I started to improve and I was able to maintain a good rhythm during the whole stage with very good results. Now it’s time to think about the long stages where the way of preparing them changes. Tomorrow we will have to stay focused, since the pace will also be high and there is more chance of getting lost.”
Dakar 2019 Stage One Video
Pablo Quintanilla – P2
“I felt really good on the bike today. It wasn’t an easy stage. There were some sandy dunes, some dusty parts and some tricky navigation. I was pushing from the start and I felt confident all the way through the stage. It’s good to start this race with a second place and it gives me extra confidence for the rest of the rally. Today we had many waypoints to cross and many direction changes. It was good to get things started with the first stage. This year I am feeling very confident and I am enjoying the race a lot. The bike is running great and I am looking forward to the coming stages.”
Ricky Brabec put his Honda in to third place on stage one, 2m52s behind teammate Barreda, and three-seconds ahead of leading Yamaha rider Adrien Van Beveren.
Ricky Brabec – P3
“First stage of this Dakar with some very good sensations. The stage was not very long, but there were many dunes and a lot of people. I have found the whole special went pretty well: there was a bit of fesh-fesh but I’m very happy to be here and am prepared to give it my best shot over the coming days.”
Adrien Van Beveren – P4
“We got this tricky opening stage out of the way and I’m happy with my result for the day. Today we got a small taste of what lies ahead. The start of the Dakar is always tricky and there’s some extra pressure. Today I tried to control this pressure and avoid mistakes by any means. I felt good racing in the dunes and my Yamaha was working great. As the race goes on, I want to gradually improve my pace while also staying 100% focused on the tracks and my navigation. Tomorrow we have a long stage and I’m looking forward to going back out there in the dunes.”
Keen to make up for his retirement from the 2018 event, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland put in a strong performance on the opening day’s timed special to claim the fifth fastest time – just under three minutes down on the leader. Choosing to navigate his way through the stage rather than following existing tracks, the 2017 Dakar champion rode an intelligent day and is looking forward to tomorrow.
Sam Sunderland – P5
“I’m pleased with the opening stage, I felt good on the bike and happy with my pace. We had to be careful as the less experienced riders had opened the stage, I think some of the top guys took the risk and pushed the tracks, but I played it safe and navigated myself. It maybe cost me a little time but I think it was the best option. I caught a few riders ahead of me and lost some time in one of the rivers but I didn’t take any risks out there – we have a lot more days to come.”
Putting in a brave performance, just 12-seconds down on team-mate Sunderland, Toby Price successfully completed the stage despite nursing the wrist he broke just weeks beforehand. Aware of the task ahead of him, Price plans to take the rally day-by-day.
Toby Price – P6
“The first day has gone well. My wrist is giving me some pain so I know the next nine days are going to be tough. But I can’t complain, I’m happy with sixth place today. Conditions out there were ok, you just have to be careful in the dunes that you don’t send it off one of the big drops – I can’t afford to risk anything like that so I need to be a little careful. The bike is running sweet, so thanks to Joe my mechanic for that. It’s going to be a long one tomorrow but I’ll give it my best.”
Displaying the number one plate on his KTM 450 Rally, Matthias Walkner set off from Lima as the very last rider away. The Austrian made use of his experience to navigate the well-ridden route ahead of him to claim a solid seventh place.
Matthias Walkner – P7
“Today was a good day, it feels great to start the rally and I felt better than I imagined after being a little ill over the last few days. The opening riders made a good job of the navigation and most of the top guys are all at a similar pace, but it was really fast out there today. As well as the sand dunes there were some rivers and rocky sections – with the wind and the riders in front there was a lot of dust and that made things even more tricky. The bike is working well and we’ll continue to work on settings as the rally goes on. Overall, it’s been an encouraging day.”
Kevin Benavides hampered with the task of being the first of the elite riders to open the track, was ahead for much of the day but the Argentinean ended up with the eighth fastest time on the day, one place ahead of Chilean Jose Ignacio Cornejo, ninth some 5m22s adrift of Barreda. Paulo Gonçalves finished eleventh 6m41s behind leader Barreda.
Kevin Benavides – P8
“It was a very good first stage to warm up. I felt good, comfortable and I think I did a good job. We had to leave in reverse order and I left a little behind, with which I had some problems to overtake other motorcycles such as the area with a river where there was a lot of dust. Then, in the dunes, I was able to enjoy it a bit more. I felt very fast. I also found tracks that are not very reliable, but in general the navigation of this first stage was fairly easy.”
Highly experienced Queenslander Rodney Faggotter took his time to settle in and wrapped up the opening stage with a 29th place result. Enjoying a good feeling aboard the latest version of the WR450F Rally, the Aussie looks to continue building on his speed during the coming stages.
Rodney Faggotter – P29
“Overall, I had a good day. I kept a steady pace from start to finish of the timed special and brought my bike home without any issues. My goal for the start of this race is to be consistent and remain inside the top 30 in the first stages. Today we raced about 70% of dunes and a long, dry and dusty river bed. Especially in that river bed you had to be extra careful to avoid mistakes. So far so good and now my eyes are set on tomorrow’s tough stage.”
Tomorrow, Tuesday, will be one of the most unique stages of this Dakar 2019, as Joan Barreda will not be the first to open the race. That job will go to the cars who will start out before. When the bikes get their turn, they can look forward to a heavily churned up and rutted route after the passage of more than one hundred four-wheeled vehicles. After departing in Pisco, riders will head to the next bivouac in San Juan de Marcona after battling out the largest part of the stage in the dunes of Ica on a ride with a total of 554 kilometres including 342 special timed.
2019 Dakar Rally Provisional Results Stage One
BARREDA Joan SPA Monster Energy Honda Team 57’36
QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing +01’34
BRABEC Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda Team +02’52
VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +02’55
SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +02’56
PRICE Toby AUS Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +03’08
WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team+03’12
BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +04’00
CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +05’22
DE SOULTRAIT Xavier FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +05’54
GONCALVES Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team +06’41 29.FAGGOTTER Rodney AUS Yamaha +11’27